Power Ranking the Best MMA Gym Logos
You know that cliche, "never judge a book by its cover?" Today, we toss that out the window and get as superficial as we can.
I know what you're think. You're thinking, "I'm not superficial, I don't let appearances affect my opinion of anything or anyone."
It is an epidemic in our society: people are just too deep.
All I ask is that all you beautiful people do your best to bear with me for this one short article. Afterwards, you can go back to being the embodiments of depth that define Bleacher Report readers.
To establish some criteria for our exercise we will ignore the talent each camp hosts, we shall pay no homage to the legacy of its coaches and we certainly will not recognize the contributions the gym has made to the sport of MMA.
I stuck to recognizable gyms to limit the field a bit. All gyms on the list boast at least one well-known fighter.
But keep in mind, just because a gym is represented by a fellow or two that look like artists when they fight, this means nothing. Once again, we must be very, very shallow.
We aren't looking for depth, we are just in the mood for something pretty.
Now let's go objectify some gyms!
26: The HIT Squad
I was planning on making a top 25 list, but no logo deserves last place quite like this one, so I made the necessary adjustment.
When I look at this logo I can't help but feel that I just leveled up my video-game character. Maybe I unlocked a new weapon? No, wait....I unlocked an entire hit squad!? YES!
25: Brazilian Top Team
A pretty basic logo consisting of the textual display of the gym name, a Brazilian flag and a guy jumping up in victory.
If we were grading the gym based on the fighters it has produced, this ranking wouldn't be so low. But remember, superficiality is key to this exercise.
24: Kings MMA
This emblem is excessively gaudy and the actual gym name is underwhelming. I mean, Kings? Why not just go with "The Wildcats?"
Can't you just see the fight team wearing this logo around their necks?
23: Xtreme Couture Mixed Martial Arts
This logo would fit more naturally on the side of a Doritos bag than a gym.
Introducing Xtreme Couture! The flavor will Blow. You. Away!
When you go so far as to remove the E from the word extreme, you are inviting salty snack comparisons.
The logo does little to redeem the name.
R.I.P. Extreme Cheddar.
22: Golden Glory
Golden Glory has fallen on hard times with the recent ambivalent departure of former top dog, Alistair Overeem.
It's a pity the team cannot console themselves by saying "hey, at least we still have a cool logo." Because they don't.
The only thing saving this logo from looking like it should adorn the doorway to an '80s pancake restaurant is the Japanese lettering.
This, however, only makes it look like a Japanese fast food joint from the '80s.
21: Team Curran MMA
Team Curran's logo is a rather uninspired knockoff of the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu logo--words circling an inverted representation of the captain's initial.
Even so, this logo is not terrible. It's semblance to a puck makes me want to play hockey, but I hail from Canada, so take that with a grain of salt.
20: Team Nogueira
I understand that the world's economy is in the dumps. I also know that in such times it is difficult to fault anyone who leaps at the opportunity to make a little extra dough.
But when a pair of brothers, legends in their own time, sell out and allow Bacardi to run their gym, it just seems wrong.
19: American Kickboxing Academy
This San Jose-based camp is home to several high-profile mixed martial artists.
The logo is pretty basic, comprised of the textual description of the gym name and the outline of a star.
I guess you can't really expect too much flash from a camp prominently represented by Jon Fitch.
18: Krazy Bee
Sometimes less is more. But this is not one of those times. Here, more would have been more.
Bees are yellow and black, I get it. But are those letters dripping honey? They could at least have been done as honey combs.
17: Tristar MMA
If I freely shed my objectivity, I would place this logo near the top. Why, you ask? Because I have long been enthralled with Soviet history.
Beyond what I can only assume was an inadvertent allusion to Stalinist Russia, this logo delivers exactly what it promises.
Tristar means three stars. Hey look! There are three stars! And it says Tristar!
16: Imperial Athletics
When you choose to name a camp "Imperial," you are pretty much tied in to using a lion, the word's visual synonym.
Already stifled by creative constraints, this emblem gives little credence to originality. I mean a lion wearing a crown--we get it designer, you've been to Rome.
15: Reign MMA
This is a very nice logo done in a fantasy style.
There is, however, an issue I take with this symbol.
To start, it is unoriginal. The eagle spreading its wings has been done to death. Beyond that, swap the letter R for a swastika and this image could be perfectly situated in 1940's Germany.
Not to suggest any intent. Just noting the similarity.
14: Team Death Clutch
So much more could be done with the name Death Clutch. I mean, where is the Grim Reaper atop a pile of skulls?
If the name of the camp was refit to match the logo, Death Clutch members would be known as Captain Jack Sparrow's Swashbuckling Crew.
You see it too, right? It is a pirate. A macabre pirate, but a pirate all the same.
Maybe that's why Brock Lesnar retired.
13: Nova Uniao Jiu-Jitsu
Does anyone else think this would fit more naturally on the side of a college football helmet?
The Nova Uniao logo is fairly unobjectionable. It gets a passing grade from the teacher, but comes with a stern, "Is that really the best you can do?"
12: American Top Team
ATT boasts one of MMA's most recognizable logos. I can't place it exactly, but the silhouette in front of the American flag screams the '90s to me.
The retro look recalls the early days of MMA, invoking the rich history of the gym and sport alike.
Altogether, not a bad logo, but it was probably put together in less than five minutes. Then again, that's four minutes longer than it took for Brazilian Top Team to come up with their logo.
11: Team Alpha Male
I can safely bet that whoever came up with this logo is a huge Donnie Darko fan.
I'm on the fence as to whether I find this understated logo lazy or wonderfully simplistic.
When I think Urijah Faber, I think California. I think surfing. What I don't think is alien calligraphy.
But hey, maybe there is more to "The California Kid" than hanging loose.
10: Alliance MMA
The emblem mixes classical simplicity with a modern edge, making it overall pretty cool.
9: Wand Fight Team Mixed Martial Arts
I like it. The vague semblance of Silva himself is simultaneously badass and humorous. The ratio sits comfortably at 30-70 though, which was probably not the intention.
The benefit of including a conscious being as part of a logo presents the perfect opportunity to have a gym mascot. This would be cutting edge in the MMA game and there are a number of qualified candidates out there already.
The early odds-on-favorite is the Greendale Human Being.
8: Black House MMA
There is a lot going on here. My initial impression is that this logo is really cool, but then I look a bit closer and become less excited about it.
There is a gryphon holding a crown between its wings, balancing one paw on a hand grenade. Trying to do a little too much mitigates the success of an otherwise cool image.
Lose the grenade/bee hive and this one moves up a few places. Still though, decent logo.
7: The Pit
I like this logo. It is simple. It is macabre. It is frightening.
My only issue is that the subject of the emblem seems to have a skeleton head, but a muscular, sinewy body. Something doesn't add up here....
6: Wolfslair MMA Academy
The concept here is pretty cool. Like American and Brazilian Top Team, there is implicit national connection in the Wolfslair logo, but the latter is far more original.
Rather than just slapping a flag in the background of the logo this emblem actually turns the Union Jack into the gym's animal namesake.
Teen Wolf would have been better, but the logo is overall adequate.
5: Kurt Pellegrino's Mixed Martial Arts
I never really got into the Batman craze, but this logo is awesome.
Unlike its goofy and eccentric namesake, Pellegrino's logo is smooth, sleek and nice to look at. The inclusion of the Brazilian and American flags is done pretty nicely as well.
On the other hand, it still is the bat signal.
4: Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Sometimes less is more.
The Cesar Gracie logo is pretty tame, slyly sticking in a "G" as its focal point. Though basic, the understated professionalism is both aesthetically pleasing and ironic.
The only danger here is that Freemasons might start showing up for meetings during practice.
3: Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts
Is that a snake fighting a lion!?
Despite the bewildering composition of biblical and classical references, this logo it pretty nice. There is a tendency to go a little overboard when using classical style letting, framing and subject, but Jackson's keeps it simple.
Overall, good enough for bronze.
2: 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu
The name is very creative and the logo is of a quality to match. A drawn planet can look many ways so Bravo (pun most certainly intended) for keeping it simple.
The implication of being on a whole other planet than the competition is a refresher from the slew of generic names and logos we've already looked over.
1: Team Quest Mixed Martial Arts
The Team Quest logo is cool because it is unique. There is a tendency among gyms to model their logo on templates similar to those used for gaudy MMA clothing. Not adhering to this nonsense earns this logo our No. 1 spot.
The emblem is simple, but original. It conveys power and strength, but avoids the typical paradigms of lions, eagles and dragons.
If it was good enough for The Brotherhood of Nod, it is good enough for an MMA gym.